A new report, Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital from Green Analytics and Sustainable Prosperity finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to the region. The report, commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from.Read more
In 2015, the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network (GBFMN) collaborated with Informa Market Research, visiting 30 network markets and interviewing 82 farmers, as well as 26 other market vendors. Results were compared with GBFMN’s 2009 survey to learn about growth and change in the sector. This study is intended to assist farmers’ market vendors and organizers, and inspire the interest and support of market shoppers and funders.Read more
The Ontario Tender Fruit Lab (a project of MaRS Solutions Lab and the Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience) convened 35 participants at a series of three workshops in the Niagara region to discuss the future of Ontario's tender fruit industry.
As a supporter and participant in this process, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation staff worked with other stakeholder participants to strategize the best ways to bring about change in the Ontario tender fruit industry within the entire value network.
The resulting report, Building a Resilient Tender Fruit Industry outlines the shared strategy and interventions that emerged from the three workshops. Have a look to see what the future of tender fruit in Ontario could look like and read about the interventions are already being made by networks of local food champions!
The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation commissioned Dr. Wayne Caldwell to develop a more robust definition of agriculture system and its component parts. The Agricultural System: Components, Linkages, and Rationale, identifies what is necessary for a well-functioning agricultural system and a viable agricultural industry. It allows municipal staff and others who interact with agricultural communities to better understand how their work impacts the functioning of the entire system, in turn affecting individual farmers.
The latest research from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation looks at a mix of initiatives and tools 30 municipalities are using to enhance Ontario’s Greenbelt.
The report, Local Leadership Matters: Ontario Municipalities Taking Action to Strengthen the Greenbelt, surveyed dozens of municipal officials. The results emphasize the many ways communities are directly and indirectly helping to achieve the objectives of the Greenbelt—enhancing valuable natural heritage sites, supporting agriculture, increasing tourism, and strengthening local economies.
Examples of municipal projects include:
The County of Northumberland established a 15,000 square foot local food processing and training facility to help farmers diversify and expand their businesses.
The Town of Aurora calculated that the total economic value of its natural assets, such as woodlands and wetlands, are worth about $7.4 million annually.
The Region of Peel offers funding of up to 50 per cent to assist conservation partners in securing additional natural areas for environmental and recreational purposes—with nearly 900 acres purchased since 2005.
The Municipality of Clarington launched the Trees for Rural Roads program to restore tree-lined rural roads by planting Maples throughout the community. Since 2012, the municipality and property owners have planted 2,300 trees.
An Explore the Bruce Adventure Passport, created by Bruce County, involves an annual scavenger hunt that encourages residents and cottagers to visit the scenic natural features and other tourist attractions across the County. To date, nearly 70,000 people have participated in exploring the Bruce.
- The Town of Lincoln is becoming a Centre of Excellence for Agriculture
For more background see our 2011 report, The Living Greenbelt
Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario’s Food System -
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Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario's Food System -
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The Dollars & Sense: Opportunities to Strengthen Southern Ontario's Food System study identifies ways Ontario can make changes to its food system to increase the supply of local food, create jobs, and support healthier lifestyles.
Encompassing the first research of its kind in Canada, the report, produced in partnership with the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, the Metcalf Foundation, and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, looks at a number of scenarios. Key findings include:
- Reducing the top 10 fruit and vegetable imports by 10 per cent and expanding local production would help create 3,400 jobs and boost the province’s GDP by nearly a quarter billion dollars.
- Ontarians adopting a healthier diet leads to higher consumer demand for fruits, vegetables, and some grains. For example, if consumers moved to an ideal level of oat consumption in their diets, 241 jobs would be created and the province’s GDP would grow by more than $14.2 million.
- Transitioning 10 per cent of food consumption to organic would improve farm incomes and reduce the environmental impact of food production, but require imports of many products unless local organic production was increased.
The latest study from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation captures the changes in agriculture from 2001 to 2011 and highlights the natural and locational advantages of farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt.
The report, Agriculture by the Numbers: Understanding the Greenbelt’s Unique Advantages, outlines changes in agriculture over time in the Greenbelt, compared to the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ontario. Using data from Statistics Canada’s 2001, 2006, and 2011 Census of Agriculture, the paper looks at key variables such as number of farms, area farmed, use of farmland, production levels, and farm revenue.
Co-authoured by professor Wayne Caldwell, of the University of Guelph, and recognized expert on agricultural and rural planning issues, Farming in Ontario’s Greenbelt: Possibility Grows Here, provides recommendations to ensure economic prosperity and viability of farming in Ontario.Read more